Essay 297 – Children learn better in classes with children of similar abilities

GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 297

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that children learn better when they are placed in classes with children of similar academic abilities. Others believe that children learn better when they are in classes with children representing a diverse range of academic abilities.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Model Answer:

No two pupils demonstrate exactly the same academic prowess. This is why, many academics try to overcome these differences in ability by grouping together them according to their skills, yet others prefer mixed ability grouping. This essay will discuss both perspectives, however, in my belief, a fixed method should not be applied to the entire school, and teachers should decide based on the abilities of their students.

In many cases, learning is best achieved if learners are grouped based on their academic abilities. In this approach, individual differences among them are considered. Grouping using this outlook emphasizes the learning styles and speed of students, rather than relying on collective instruction, this, in turn, leads to a conducive learning atmosphere. To put it another way, teachers can prepare more suitable lessons accompanied by the right speed for their pupils. Various studies support this notion as good students may progress faster and from complex lessons while average students can reap the benefits of a slower pace with more explanation of topics.

On the other hand, children who are put in classes with mixed abilities can reap benefits because they are grouped with other pupils who possess a diverse range of academic strengths. This is particularly good for discussion purposes and gaining others’ views on things. Mixed ability classes also help learners to understand one another by developing interaction among learners who may not otherwise find the opportunity to interact. In academics, talented pupils can help to push poor pupils further by modelling and inspiring them. This masters higher-level students’ competencies in mentoring others and consolidating information. Moreover, lower-level students can also explore some of the higher-level thinking patterns and problem-solving skills they might not able to find if they remain in a low-level group.

In conclusion, both homogenous and heterogeneous classes confer advantages. However, this essay finds that teachers are best placed to make decisions about the teaching approach they apply.

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